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Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition

Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition

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Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition

4.5/5 (3 ratings)
651 pages
6 hours
Oct 28, 2016


If you are an aspiring data scientist and you have at least a working knowledge of data analysis and Python, this book will get you started in data science. Data analysts with experience of R or MATLAB will also find the book to be a comprehensive reference to enhance their data manipulation and machine learning skills.
Oct 28, 2016

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Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition - Luca Massaron

Table of Contents

Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition


About the Authors

About the Reviewer


Why subscribe?


What this book covers

What you need for this book

Who this book is for


Reader feedback

Customer support

Downloading the example code

Downloading the color images of this book




1. First Steps

Introducing data science and Python

Installing Python

Python 2 or Python 3?

Step-by-step installation

The installation of packages

Package upgrades

Scientific distributions


Leveraging conda to install packages

Enthought Canopy



Explaining virtual environments

conda for managing environments

A glance at the essential packages








Beautiful Soup








Introducing Jupyter

Fast installation and first test usage

Jupyter magic commands

How Jupyter Notebooks can help data scientists

Alternatives to Jupyter

Datasets and code used in the book

Scikit-learn toy datasets

The MLdata.org public repository

LIBSVM data examples

Loading data directly from CSV or text files

Scikit-learn sample generators


2. Data Munging

The data science process

Data loading and preprocessing with pandas

Fast and easy data loading

Dealing with problematic data

Dealing with big datasets

Accessing other data formats

Data preprocessing

Data selection

Working with categorical and text data

A special type of data – text

Scraping the Web with Beautiful Soup

Data processing with NumPy

NumPy's n-dimensional array

The basics of NumPy ndarray objects

Creating NumPy arrays

From lists to unidimensional arrays

Controlling the memory size

Heterogeneous lists

From lists to multidimensional arrays

Resizing arrays

Arrays derived from NumPy functions

Getting an array directly from a file

Extracting data from pandas

NumPy's fast operations and computations

Matrix operations

Slicing and indexing with NumPy arrays

Stacking NumPy arrays


3. The Data Pipeline

Introducing EDA

Building new features

Dimensionality reduction

The covariance matrix

Principal Component Analysis (PCA)

PCA for big data – RandomizedPCA

Latent Factor Analysis (LFA)

Linear Discriminant Analysis (LDA)

Latent Semantical Analysis (LSA)

Independent Component Analysis (ICA)

Kernel PCA


Restricted Boltzmann Machine (RBM)

The detection and treatment of outliers

Univariate outlier detection



Validation metrics

Multilabel classification

Binary classification


Testing and validating


Using cross-validation iterators

Sampling and bootstrapping

Hyperparameter optimization

Building custom scoring functions

Reducing the grid search runtime

Feature selection

Selection based on feature variance

Univariate selection

Recursive elimination

Stability and L1-based selection

Wrapping everything in a pipeline

Combining features together and chaining transformations

Building custom transformation functions


4. Machine Learning

Preparing tools and datasets

Linear and logistic regression

Naive Bayes

K-Nearest Neighbors

Nonlinear algorithms

SVM for classification

SVM for regression

Tuning SVM

Ensemble strategies

Pasting by random samples

Bagging with weak classifiers

Random subspaces and random patches

Random Forests and Extra-Trees

Estimating probabilities from an ensemble

Sequences of models – AdaBoost

Gradient tree boosting (GTB)


Dealing with big data

Creating some big datasets as examples

Scalability with volume

Keeping up with velocity

Dealing with variety

An overview of Stochastic Gradient Descent (SGD)

Approaching deep learning

A peek at Natural Language Processing (NLP)

Word tokenization


Word tagging

Named Entity Recognition (NER)


A complete data science example – text classification

An overview of unsupervised learning


5. Social Network Analysis

Introduction to graph theory

Graph algorithms

Graph loading, dumping, and sampling


6. Visualization, Insights, and Results

Introducing the basics of matplotlib

Curve plotting

Using panels

Scatterplots for relationships in data


Bar graphs

Image visualization

Selected graphical examples with pandas

Boxplots and histograms


Parallel coordinates

Wrapping up matplotlib's commands

Introducing Seaborn

Enhancing your EDA capabilities

Interactive visualizations with Bokeh

Advanced data-learning representations

Learning curves

Validation curves

Feature importance for RandomForests

GBT partial dependence plots

Creating a prediction server for ML-AAS


1. Strengthen Your Python Foundations

Your learning list



Defining functions

Classes, objects, and OOP


Iterators and generators


Comprehensions for lists and dictionaries

Learn by watching, reading, and doing


PyCon and PyData

Interactive Jupyter

Don't be shy, take a real challenge

Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition

Python Data Science Essentials - Second Edition

Copyright © 2016 Packt Publishing

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embedded in critical articles or reviews.

Every effort has been made in the preparation of this book to ensure the accuracy of the information presented. However, the information contained in this book is sold without warranty, either express or implied. Neither the authors, nor Packt Publishing, and its dealers and distributors will be held liable for any damages caused or alleged to be caused directly or indirectly by this book.

Packt Publishing has endeavored to provide trademark information about all of the companies and products mentioned in this book by the appropriate use of capitals. However, Packt Publishing cannot guarantee the accuracy of this information.

First published: April 2015

Second edition: October 2016

Production reference: 1211016

Published by Packt Publishing Ltd.

Livery Place

35 Livery Street


B3 2PB, UK.

ISBN 978-1-78646-213-8



About the Authors

Alberto Boschetti is a data scientist with expertise in signal processing and statistics. He holds a PhD in telecommunication engineering and currently lives and works in London. In his work projects, he faces challenges ranging from natural language processing (NLP), behavioral analysis, and machine learning to distributed processing. He is very passionate about his job and always tries to stay updated about the latest developments in data science technologies, attending meet-ups, conferences, and other events.

I would like to thank my family, my friends, and my colleagues. Also, a big thanks to the open source community.

Luca Massaron is a data scientist and marketing research director specializing in multivariate statistical analysis, machine learning, and customer insight, with over a decade of experience of solving real-world problems and generating value for stakeholders by applying reasoning, statistics, data mining, and algorithms. From being a pioneer of web audience analysis in Italy to achieving the rank of a top ten Kaggler, he has always been very passionate about every aspect of data and its analysis, and also about demonstrating the potential of data-driven knowledge discovery to both experts and non-experts. Favoring simplicity over unnecessary sophistication, Luca believes that a lot can be achieved in data science just by doing the essentials.

To Yukiko and Amelia, for their loving patience. Roads go ever ever on, under cloud and under star, yet feet that wandering have gone turn at last to home afar.

About the Reviewer

Zacharias Voulgaris is a data scientist and technical author specializing in data science books. He has an engineering and management background, with post-graduate studies in information systems and machine learning. Zacharias has worked as a research fellow at Georgia Tech, investigating and applying machine learning technologies to real-world problems, as an SEO manager in an e-marketing company in Europe, as a program manager in Microsoft, and as a data scientist at US Bank and at G2 Web Services.

Dr. Voulgaris has also authored technical books, the most notable of which is Data Scientist - the definitive guide to becoming a data scientist (Technics Publications), and his newest book, Julia for Data Science (Technics Publications), was released during the summer of 2016. He has also written a number of data-science-related articles on blogs and participates in various data science/machine learning meetup groups. Finally, he has provided technical editorial aid in the book Python Data Science Essentials (Packt), by the same authors as this book.

I would very much like to express my gratitude to the authors of the book for giving me the opportunity to contribute to this project. Also, I'd like to thank Bastiaan Sjardin for introducing me to them and to the world of technical editing. It's been a privilege working with all of you.


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Data science is a relatively new knowledge domain that requires the successful integration of linear algebra, statistical modeling, visualization, computational linguistics, graph analysis, machine learning, business intelligence, and data storage and retrieval.

The Python programming language, having conquered the scientific community during the last decade, is now an indispensable tool for the data science practitioner and a must-have tool for every aspiring data scientist. Python will offer you a fast, reliable, cross-platform, mature environment for data analysis, machine learning, and algorithmic problem solving. Whatever stopped you before from mastering Python for data science applications will be easily overcome by our easy, step-by-step, and example-oriented approach that will help you apply the most straightforward and effective Python tools to both demonstrative and real-world datasets. As the second edition of Python Data Science Essentials, this book offers updated and expanded content. Based on the recent Jupyter Notebooks (incorporating interchangeable kernels, a truly polyglot data science system), this book incorporates all the main recent improvements in Numpy, Pandas, and Scikit-learn. Additionally, it offers new content in the form of deep learning (by presenting Keras–based on both Theano and Tensorflow), beautiful visualizations (seaborn and ggplot), and web deployment (using bottle). This book starts by showing you how to set up your essential data science toolbox in Python’s latest version (3.5), using a single-source approach (implying that the book's code will be easily reusable on Python 2.7 as well). Then, it will guide you across all the data munging and preprocessing phases in a manner that explains all the core data science activities related to loading data, transforming, and fixing it for analysis, and exploring/processing it. Finally, the book will complete its overview by presenting you with the principal machine learning algorithms, graph analysis techniques, and all the visualization and deployment instruments that make it easier to present your results to an audience of both data science experts and business users.

What this book covers

Chapter 1, First Steps, introduces Jupyter notebooks and demonstrates how you can have access to the data run in the tutorials.

Chapter 2, Data Munging, gives an overview of the data science pipeline and explores all the key tools for handling and preparing data before you apply any learning algorithm and set up your hypothesis experimentation schedule.

Chapter 3, The Data Pipeline, discusses all the operations that can potentially improve or even boost your results.

Chapter 4, Machine Learning, delves into the principal machine learning algorithms offered by the Scikit-learn package, such as, among others, linear models, support vector machines, ensembles of trees, and unsupervised techniques for clustering.

Chapter 5, Social Network Analysis, introduces graphs, which is an interesting deviation from the predic-tors/target flat matrices. It is quite a hot topic in data science now. Expect to delve into very complex and intricate networks!

Chapter 6, Visualization, Insights, and Results, the concluding chapter, introduces you to the basics of visualization with Matplotlib, how to operate EDA with pandas, how to achieve beautiful visualizations with Seaborn and Bokeh, and also how to set up a web server to provide information on demand.

Appendix, Strengthen Your Python Foundations, covers a few Python examples and tutorials focused on the key features of the language that are indispensable in order to work on data science projects.

What you need for this book

Python and all the data science tools mentioned in the book, from IPython to Scikit-learn, are free of charge and can be freely downloaded from the Internet. To run the code that accompanies the book, you need a computer that uses Windows, Linux, or Mac OS operating systems. The book will introduce you step-by-step to the process of installing the Python interpreter and all the tools and data that you need to run the examples.

Who this book is for

If you are an aspiring data scientist and you have at least a working knowledge of data analysis and Python, this book will get you started in data science. Data analysts with experience in R or MATLAB will also find the book to be a comprehensive reference to enhance their data manipulation and machine learning skills.


In this book, you will find a number of text styles that distinguish between different kinds of information. Here are some examples of these styles and an explanation of their meaning.

Code words in text, database table names, folder names, filenames, file extensions, pathnames, dummy URLs, user input, and Twitter handles are shown as follows: By using the to_bokehmethod, any chart and plot from other packages can be easily ported into Bokeh.

A block of code is set as follows:

File: bottle1.py

from bottle import route, run, template

port = 9099


def homepage(name):

return template('Hi {{name}}!', name=name)

print(Try going to http://localhost:{}/personal/Tom.format(port))

print(Try going to http://localhost:{}/personal/Carl.format(port))

run(host='localhost', port=port)

Any command-line input or output is written as follows:

In: import numpy as np

from bokeh.plotting import figure, output_file, show

x = np.linspace(0, 5, 50)

y_cos = np.cos(x)


p = figure()

p.line(x, y_cos, line_width=2)


New terms and important words are shown in bold. Words that you see on the screen, for example, in menus or dialog boxes, appear in the text like this: Once the Jupyter instance has opened in the browser, click on the New button.


Warnings or important notes appear in a box like this.


Tips and tricks appear like this.

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Downloading the example code

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Downloading the color images of this book

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Chapter 1. First Steps

Whether you are an eager learner of data science or a well-grounded data science practitioner, you can take advantage of this essential introduction to Python for data science. You can use it to the fullest if you already have at least some previous experience in basic coding, in writing general-purpose computer programs in Python, or in some other data analysis-specific language such as MATLAB or R.

This book will delve directly into Python for data science, providing you with a straight and fast route to solve various data science problems using Python and its powerful data analysis and machine learning packages. The code examples that are provided in this book don't require you to be a master of Python. However, they will assume that you at least know the basics of Python scripting, including data structures such as lists and dictionaries, and the workings of class objects. If you don't feel confident about these subjects or have minimal knowledge of the Python language, before reading this book, we suggest that you take an online tutorial. There are many possible choices, but we suggest starting with the suggestions from the official beginner's guide to Python from the Python Foundation or directly going to the free Code Academy course at https://www.codecademy.com/learn/python. Using Code Academy's tutorial, or any other alternative you may find useful, in a matter of a few hours of study, you should acquire all the building blocks that will ensure you enjoy this book to the fullest. We have also prepared a tutorial of our own, which can be found in the last part of this book, in order to provide an integration of the two aforementioned free courses.

In any case, don't be intimidated by our starting requirements; mastering Python enough for data science applications isn't as arduous as you may think. It's just that we have to assume some basic knowledge on the reader's part because our intention is to go straight to the point of doing data science without having to explain too much about the general aspects of the language that we will be using.

Are you ready, then? Let's start!

In this introductory chapter, we will work out the basics to set off in full swing and go through the following topics:

How to set up a Python data science toolbox

Using your browser as an interactive notebook, to code with Python using Jupyter

An overview of the data that we are going to study in this book

Introducing data science and Python

Data science is a relatively new knowledge domain, though its core components have been studied and researched for many years by the computer science community. Its components include linear algebra, statistical modeling, visualization, computational linguistics, graph analysis, machine learning, business intelligence, and data storage and retrieval.

Data science is a new domain and you have to take into consideration that currently its frontiers are still somewhat blurred and dynamic. Since data science is made of various constituent sets of disciplines, please also keep in mind that there are different profiles of data scientists depending on their competencies and areas of expertise.

In such a situation, what can be the best tool of the trade that you can learn and effectively use in your career as a data scientist? We believe that the best tool is Python, and we intend to provide you with all the essential information that you will need for a quick start.

In addition, other tools such as R and MATLAB provide data scientists with specialized tools to solve specific problems in statistical analysis and matrix manipulation in data science. However, Python really completes your data scientist skill set. This multipurpose language is suitable for both development and production alike; it can handle small- to large-scale data problems and it is easy to learn and grasp no matter what your background or experience is.

Created in 1991 as a general-purpose, interpreted, and object-oriented language, Python has slowly and steadily conquered the scientific community and grown into a mature ecosystem of specialized packages for data processing and analysis. It allows you to have uncountable and fast experimentations, easy theory development, and prompt deployment of scientific applications.

At present, the core Python characteristics that render it an indispensable data science tool are as follows:

It offers a large, mature system of packages for data analysis and machine learning. It guarantees that you will get all that you may need in the course of a data analysis, and sometimes even more.

Python can easily integrate different tools and offers a truly unifying ground for different languages, data strategies, and learning algorithms that can be fitted together easily and which can concretely help data scientists forge powerful solutions. There are packages that allow you to call code in other languages (in Java, C, Fortran, R, or Julia), outsourcing some of the computations to them and improving your script performance.

It is very versatile. No matter what your programming background or style is (object-oriented, procedural, or even functional), you will enjoy programming with Python.

It is cross-platform; your solutions will work perfectly and smoothly on Windows, Linux (even on small-sized distributions, suitable for IoT on tiny-PCs like Raspberry Pi, Arduino and so on), and Mac OS systems. You won't have to worry all that much about portability.

Although interpreted, it is undoubtedly fast compared to other mainstream data analysis languages such as R and MATLAB (though it is not comparable to C, Java, and the newly emerged Julia language). Moreover, there are also static compilers such as Cython or just-in-time compilers such as PyPy that can transform Python code into C for higher performance.

It can work with large in-memory data because of its minimal memory footprint and excellent memory management. The memory garbage collector will often save the day when you load, transform, dice, slice, save, or discard data using various iterations and reiterations of data wrangling.

It is very simple to learn and use. After you grasp the basics, there's no better way to learn more than by immediately starting with the coding.

Moreover, the number of data scientists using Python is continuously growing: new packages and improvements have been released by the community every day, making the Python ecosystem an increasingly prolific and rich language for data science.

Installing Python

First, let's proceed to introduce all the settings you need in order to create a fully working data science environment to test the examples and experiment with the code that we are going to provide you with.

Python is an open source, object-oriented, and cross-platform programming language. Compared to some of its direct competitors (for instance, C++ or Java), Python is very concise. It allows you to build a working software prototype in a very short time. Yet it has become the most used language in the data scientist's toolbox not just because of that. It is also a general-purpose language, and it is very flexible due to a variety of available packages that solve a wide spectrum of problems and necessities.

Python 2 or Python 3?

There are two main branches of Python: 2.7.x and 3.x. At the time of writing this second edition of the book, the Python Foundation (https://www.python.org/) is offering downloads for Python version 2.7.11 and 3.5.1. Although the third version is the newest, the older one is still the most used version in the scientific area, since a few packages (check the website at http://py3readiness.org/ for a compatibility overview) won't run otherwise yet.

In addition, there is no immediate backward compatibility between Python 3 and 2. In fact, if you try to run some code developed for Python 2 with a Python 3 interpreter, it may not work. Major changes have been made to the newest version, and that has affected past compatibility. Some data scientists, having built most of their work on Python 2 and its packages, are reluctant to switch to the new version.

In this second edition of the book, we intend to address a growing audience of data scientists, data analysts, and developers, who may not have such a strong legacy with Python 2. Thus, we agreed that it would be better to work with Python 3 rather than the older version. We suggest using a version such as Python 3.4 or above. After all, Python 3 is the present and the future of Python. It is the only version that will be further developed and improved by the Python Foundation and it will be the default version of the future on many operating systems.

Anyway, if you are currently working with version 2 and you prefer to keep on working with it, you can still use this book and all its examples. In fact, for the most part, our code will simply work on Python 2 after having the code itself preceded by these imports:

from __future__ import (absolute_import, division,

                        print_function, unicode_literals)

from builtins import *

from future import standard_library



The from __future__ import commands should always occur at the beginning of your scripts or

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